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Lurgan man jailed for ‘prolonged period’ of domestic abuse spanning 15 years

'This is a prolonged period of domestic abuse and must be dealt with appropriately by the courts to send out a deterrent message'

police prison

A Lurgan man has been handed a prison sentence after a “prolonged period” of domestic abuse against his partner of 15 years.

Craigavon Magistrates Court heard on Friday how Terry O’Neill, of Corcreeny Place, took control of the injured party’s comings and goings, alongside her finances.

The 54-year-old, who appeared before the court via videolink from Maghaberry charged with one count of domestic abuse, was jailed for six months and handed a two-year restraining order.

At the outset of the hearing, the prosecution outlined the facts of the case.

The court was told on November 23, last year, police received a referral from Social Services regarding ongoing domestic abuse between the defendant and the injured party.

On December 19, police met with the injured party at one of her scheduled appointments with Social Services and she went on to disclose 15 years of abuse.

She told police that the defendant would control where she went, who she went with and for how long. She said he would follow her everywhere and ensure she did not speak to those he didn’t “approve of”.

He also would attend her appointments and wait outside to ensure she was where she said she would be.

She further alleged that he took “financial control” of the monies in the relationship, giving her a weekly £80 budget from their joint account.

She stated she “lives in fear” of the defendant, describing previous physical altercations which had taken place.

While police were speaking to the injured party at the appointment,O’Neill was waiting outside and subsequently arrested.

On December 20, the injured party attended Mahon Road Police Station.

At interview in Dungannon custody, O’Neill denied the offences and said it was the first he had heard of any allegations against him. He said they split their bills and he would give her money from his own account if she needed any.

He denied having any issues with her meeting friends and said he drove her around because her licence was expired.

A defence lawyer described the case as a “tragic situation”, noting the defendant had been in custody since the offences were reported and the relationship was over.

“He simply wants to put this behind him and put his best foot forward and behave himself coming forward.”

District Judge Ranaghan noted the defendant had pleaded guilty and had no “significant” record, but stated: “This is a prolonged period of domestic abuse and must be dealt with appropriately by the courts to send out a deterrent message.”

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